IRO Doctoral Scholarships Programme, Belgium

Publish Date: Sep 03, 2015

Deadline: Nov 09, 2015

Doctoral Scholarships provided by the Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation (IRO) 

Welcome to the IRO Doctoral Scholarships Programme!

As one of its contributions to development cooperation, KU Leuven offers scholarships every academic year to exceptional students from developing countries to course their PhD in the largest university of Flanders, Belgium. The programme is organised and managed by IRO, the University's Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation.

Over the past ten years, the IRO Doctoral Scholarships Programme has supported over a hundred PhD graduates.  Having obtained their doctoral degree from KU Leuven, the PhD holders are now utilising their expertise back in their home countries either at a university (by doing academic research), government bodies, civil society organisations or in various sectors of the industry.

KU Leuven is situated at about twenty kilometers from Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and Europe. It is the oldest university of the Low Countries. As such, it has a long-standing tradition of hospitality towards students and scholars from abroad. Currently, almost 7,000 international students (about 15% of the total number of students at KU Leuven) have found their home away from home in Leuven.

General Eligibility Conditions

  1. The applicant must be a citizen of one of the countries on the OCDE DAC table that are considered as: Least Developed Countries, Low Income Countries or Low Middle Income Countries.
  2. The applicant may not possess a citizenship from an EU country. The applicant may not posses a long-term EU residence permit.
  3. The candidate's latest master’s degree must have been awarded no more than ten years prior to October 1st, 2016 (including the ongoing calendar year).
  4. The candidate must hold an academic qualification at least equivalent to a high distinction. Degrees obtained with a final score equivalent to second class second/lower division will not be taken into consideration.
  5. Excellent academic quality of the research project, focusing on the development relevance of the proposal.
  6. The candidate must demonstrate a development-oriented motivation.
  7. The candidate must be supported by a local co-promoter at the candidate's home country to ensure embeddedness of the research within the country's context.
  8. The candidate must be supported by excellent recommendations from relevant referees.
  9. The candidate must follow the application procedure and complete his file before November 9th 2015. Please make sure to fill up the application form with the following instructions:
    1. First name and last name as written on the passport.
    2. Status: Doctoral Programme (diploma contract) or Predoctoral programme.
    3. Academic year: If you apply between September and October 2015, you must select 2015 - 2016; Starting from November, you must select 2016 - 2017.
    4. Is this application also intended as a scholarship application? Yes.
    5. Name of the scholarship agency: IRO Doctoral Scholarship

Please do not submit your application unless it fulfills the conditions enlisted above. Incomplete or late applications will not be taken into consideration without exception.

Application Form

What does the IRO scholarship include?

  Doctoral Students Pre-doctoral Students

Monthly basic amount

€ 1,415 (75% of the net salary of an assistant)
paid at the end of each month

€1000 paid at the beginning of each month

with accompanying partner (and children) living in the same address with a valid Belgian residence permit.**

Housing allowance of
€ 200/month

Housing allowance of
€ 200/month

Child allowance and accident insurance as an employee for work-related accidents*

Covered by the Belgian social security*

Not covered

Installation Allowance (only for students who are not living in Belgium; upon arrival) €550 €550

Tuition fee



Affiliation with a Belgian Health Insurance company

Reimbursed by KU Leuven

Reimbursed by KU Leuven

Third-party liability insurance (private life)

Reimbursed by KU Leuven

Reimbursed by KU Leuven

Professional and accident insurance coverage; third party liability insurance (study related matters and for professional liability)

Paid by KU Leuven

Paid by KU Leuven

Return flight tickets for the IRO student and his/her partner (and children)** living in Belgium with a valid residence permit

Paid by KU Leuven

Paid by KU Leuven

The doctoral scholarship is subject to partial or full social security depending on the country of origin. Please refer to page 36 of the brochure Travelling to Leuven.

Does not apply for people with a long term EEA residence permit or nationality.

Contact email:


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